Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rocky Taper


The taper is going as well as can be expected, I suppose.  I may just drive my family nuts before next weekend.  I am trying to distract myself with a few good books, Harry Potter and Organized Simplicity are the current reads.  I am enjoying them both, but honestly, what I want to do right now is organize every single closet, drawer, cabinet, and bookshelf that lies within the boundaries of my home.  I would love even more to grab a few gallons of paint and get to work redecorating the house. 

I ran my last "long" run which was only about 7 miles, which was supposed to be 10, but my running partner needed to finish up earlier than expected.  I thought about going out for more later in the day, but I will just put a few more on the shoes tomorrow.

I am about as well trained for Rocky as I can be with regards to mileage.  I wish I had been able to put a bit more time into core and upper body, but I am definitely stronger than I have ever been.  A good goal for after Rocky will be to focus on those two things for a few weeks before ramping up the mileage again.

Tonight I will spend time making my list of things to pack in the drop bags, though I suspect it will be minimal.  I find I lean more and more on less and less at events now, but I do want to be prepared.  Thankfully, Joe Prusaitis runs an amazing race and his volunteers are top notch.  They get running.  They get how to help.  And I know that I can rely on them to take good care of me as well as all the other runners out there.

Found myself a bit awestruck this week when I heard that some of the big dawgs were coming to play!  I am just as excited about seeing old friends as well as some new ones I've made in the last few months.  For now, I am going to focus on staying in the moment, living simply and fully and not just wishing I could jump to next weekend.  I have worked a long time to get to this point in the dream and I do not want to miss a moment of it!
 Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. 
Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Training Fatigue

Just under 2 weeks away from Rocky and my body is beginning to really let me know how much I've been using it lately.

Little aches and pains that, at times, are a little more than "little" aches and pains.  I seem to be having hamstring issues on the left leg and sciatic pain on the right.  Neither seems to bother me while running, but afterwards, I feel like a little old lady limping around.

I'm really fatigued today, so I ditched my scheduled run.  I am seeing a lot of bruising popping up in weird spots.  These two symptoms tell me that my iron is probably low again, so I'm doubling my intake and praying I get some energy back soon.

I am looking forward to Rocky.  I wish I was more excited than I am, but right now, I just want to get through it, survive, and then rest.  Not sure if this is a normal feeling, but it is my normal right now.

I am officially in taper mode and I imagine many drawers and closets will get organized over the next two weeks.  Or maybe I will just delve into the Harry Potter books I've always wanted to read...

Happy running!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

27 degrees

That was the temp this morning when I set out on my 10 mile loop.  This is my first run since the 40 miler on Saturday.  I had hoped to run Sunday and Tuesday, but with several sick children in the house, this was not to be the case.  Mom-duty comes first and I am just thankful that I didn't have to skip the 40 miler, only a few shorter runs.

I was not really looking forward to getting into the cold weather since I seem to be fighting a bit of the illness myself, but after reading Dave's post, I had to run.  I even wished for snow.  Being inspired by other runners is always a good thing.  It gets me out of myself and out on the road.

My legs felt pretty nasty for the first few miles.  The flat roads felt like hills.  I took it slow and tried to think of it as more of a slow recovery run.  The sun was shining beautifully and I tried to place myself in the moment.  Sun.  Brisk, cold air.  Peace.  God.  The kids feeling ill was still present in my mind, but I knew that they were in safe hands at home.

After about four miles, my tummy started talking to me, telling me that I should probably change my route up and find the park restrooms.  Unfortunately, as I approached them, I could see that they were closed for maintenance.  Uh oh.

I had to really cut the run short and only was able to get in 5.5 miles today.  I have 20 on the schedule tomorrow and a few more ( 5 or so) on Friday morning before heading out on retreat with my confirmation students.  Trying to get running in this weekend will be close to impossible as my focus will be on them.  I do plan to try to run Sunday night after I get back.

I feel like now that my longest week and mileage has been done, the next few weeks of training are going to be trying to strike a balance between staying healthy and uninjured.  The last thing I want now is to have all of these weeks of hard work to be for naught because I get bronchitis or hurt myself or something as equally frustrating.

Now it is time to start thinking logistically about how Rocky should go.  My ultimate goal is to finish, but I would love to have a plan thought out for nutrition and a time goal to aim for.  I think 28 hours would be a great 1st 100 time.  I will admit that cutting it that close to the 30 hour time limit makes me more than a little nervous.

Running Rocky won't be a solo event.  There will be others helping me the entire time and I know that I can't get it done without their help.  Perhaps someday I will be able to be completely self-sufficient on running a 100, but this time, I don't want to be.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The 40 mile Translation

I have been cautiously optimistic about actually having the opportunity to run my longest distance ever on concrete yesterday. Between a pretty angry hamstring/sciatic nerve issue and ongoing viruses in my home, I wasn't sure I would make it to the start of my 40 miler.  Thankfully, my body was cooperative and I even had a decent night's sleep which is highly unusual for me.  When the alarm went off at 4:00 am, I was already up and ready to get going.

I have done a few 50 milers on the dirt and loved every minute of it, (well, maybe not every minute), but the thought of running almost that many miles on the road has not appealed to me.  Life being what it is right now, I had to either do my longest training run on pavement or not do it at all.  Embracing the idea that it would make me mentally stronger to do something I wasn't too keen on helped me to keep my focus.  As well, several people were kind enough to run with me and the last 10 miles I had 4 angels show up and help me finish the mileage up.

Yesterday's weather could not have been anymore perfect!  I began my run solo at 4:45 am, in the dark and with temps around 43 degrees.  I kept on my sweats and of course my blinkie and ran the first 10 miles.  I think I was about 5 miles into the run when I realized that I was completely outside of myself and had no recollection of the path I had just run.  I felt completely "in the zone". 

I finished the first 10 miles in time to start with the Woodlands Fit groups 21 miler.  The plan was to run alongside them for the comraderie and then to finish my final 10 miles on my own.  I missed the official start of the run because I was in need of the restroom and it seemed I wasn't alone.  There was a 10 - 15 minute wait to use the one in Luke's causing me to miss the beginning of the run.  This was probably a blessing in disguise though because I might otherwise have been tempted to run the pace of my running buddies instead of my own.  I knew that it would be hard to actually run with someone because they are training for a marathon and I am training for a 100 miler, two totally different beasts.  I have had much success with the 8:2 method in these long runs and plan to use this during Rocky, so my training runs have been structured as such.  If you want to finish a fast marathon, running with me is probably not a good idea.

The next 21 miles went very well.  I had to stop two more times for the restroom of which I waited another 10 mins and forgot to turn off my watch.  I typically turn off my watch if I have to wait in line because this usually isn't a problem during races.

The weirdest part of the 21 was getting a text from Mark after I had run 20 miles and he was just leaving for work.  I had to double check the time because it felt like noon to me, yet it was only 8:15 am.
I saw so many running friends on the route and it felt so nice to see them all having great runs and lots of fun.

As I came into my 31st mile, I checked my phone and had texts from a few people that were planning to meet up with me to run a portion of the last ten.  Marcos and Amy met me at Luke's and committed to running 5 miles with me.  Holden and Christy both were meeting me at Shadowbend Park and planned to run a few as well.  It was the perfect team of runners!  I can't thank them enough for sticking with me.  While I know I could have finished that last ten on my own, I was really, really glad that I didn't.  You guys are wonderful!

All in all, the run went smoothly.  My nutrition seems to be working well.  I eat every 5 miles, typically trail mix, but twice I did eat some honey stinger chews.  I love those things!  They are like candy and I think they are so tasty!  Not like a gel.  They sit on the stomach well.  I also take an S-cap once per hour.  Even though the temps are low, I am afraid to not take them because I feel so good at the end of the runs.  I also tried 5 hour energy on my last two big runs and while this is something I would never typically choose to use, many other runners who have had great success have recommended that I try them in training for use during the 100, especially in the wee hours after midnight.  I expected that they would upset my stomach or make me feel weird, but so far, I have not had any issues with them.  I took one yesterday at the end of the first 10 miles and other than feel like I was somehow cheating, I felt great and had no ill-effects from it.

At the end of the run, I was tired, but I still had some mileage in me.  I am not sure if I had 60 miles left in me though.  I expected that a 41 mile run would do a lot to boost my confidence, but if I was to be totally honest, I think it could have done just the opposite.  I was tired.  Maybe I had another 20 or 30 miles left in me, but 60?  I don't know.
How does running a 40 miler translate to training for a 100?  We run 21 miles in preparation for a marathon.  I can see how 21 would boost the ego enough to believe you can finish 26.  I ran 35 in preparation of a 50 miler, and I felt that I could finish that distance.  But running 40 and thinking it will translate into being physically and mentally ready for the 100?  I just don't know.
One thing is for certain.  I can no longer underestimate the challenge of the 100.  Not that I was, but I think the enormity of the distance is hitting me now.  I have seen it said that one "could fake their way through a 50".  I understand that phrase now.  The other part of it is that while you could make it through a 50 on pure guts, I am not so convinced that I can accomplish this during a 100.
Obviously dwelling on these thoughts won't do much to get me through the 100, but I like to try to keep things real in my world, and my thoughts at this point are this.
I will start Rocky 100.
I will run, walk, and crawl as far as I can.
I will do my best to get farther than I ever have before and if that means a finish, all the better.
Maybe the DNF's that I have had this year have been to help prepare me for this moment.  To not underestimate a race.  To not get too comfortable or too confident.  To not set unattainable goals.
I am looking forward to the next few weeks of running and the eventual race itself.  I want to see what I am really made of.  I want to see what challenges I am able to overcome and how fully I can rely on myself and God to pull me through those moments I know are waiting for me on that trail...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

High Mileage Week

Yesterday began the highest mileage week of training for Rocky 100.  I came down with a nasty little stomach bug on Sunday immediately after my run and spent the day in my bathrobe.  It was bizarre to feel so good on a run and have it change completely as soon as my run was over. 

Thankfully, yesterday was a scheduled rest day, so I did just that.  Sort of.  I didn't run.  I did do the push-ups and core work on the schedule.  And I ate several helpings of Lugow, a Filipino rice dish made with ginger and chicken.  Yes, chicken.  Christmas has wreaked havoc on my vegan eating but that is another topic for another day. 
The lugow seemed to help.  I was starving.  I was definitely calorie deficient since I didn't eat before my run Sunday nor was I able to eat after it.  I went to bed last night feeling pretty confident that I would be able to run this morning.
I was out of bed with the intention of running early, but my tummy had other ideas.  So, I am waiting it out.  Not sure if I will be able to get this run in today or not.  But the goal is to get it done. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Welcome 2011!

The time between Christmas and New Year's is a pretty quiet time around our home, usually.  This year it seems to have been a bit more full with family visiting, Christmasing with friends, and even a few illnesses.

I like to spend that week reflecting on my goals for the past year and set new goals for the new one which lay ahead.  I did not get to do very much of that, at least not as much as I think something so important would require until yesterday.  After my 12 miler, during which I felt great, I stopped in to the restroom and almost passed out from a weird headache and unexpected bout of throwing up.  I'm sure the folks at Kroger love seeing that situation!  I spent the rest of the day in and out of bed (and the bathroom) which gave me lots of time to reflect on things.

I did decide to adopt the Advent Conspiracy's Philosophy of :

Spend Less
Give More
Love All
Worship Fully

Some of these seem fairly straight-forward, but leave it to me to complicate them a bit.  It's my specialty.

Spend Less... most people would probably think financially with this one.  I do intend to spend less this year and what I do buy will be bought only because it is needed.  I will buy second-hand when possible and shop for the lowest prices possible.  I will also be more dutiful in my pledge to donate one item for every item brought in, with the exception of food. 

Some other ways in which I will Spend Less...

Spend less time worrying about things I have no control over.  This bad habit demonstrates a lack of faith. It is a symptom of trying to always be in control of everything and never really trusting in God. 

Spend less time being critical of others, especially my children.  I will look for the good in people.  I will try to see things from their point of view and act out of love rather than discontent.

Spend less energy on things that do not grow me spiritually.  OK, so I can't give up grocery shopping, but I can make grocery shopping a means by which I serve my family and in doing that, I grow in virtue and hopefully learn to do it joyfully. 

Give more...
Time to developing my relationship with God.
Time to my family and friends.  Real time.  Face to face.
Time to those who need someone to care for them.
Learn to give presence instead of giving presents

Love All
Even when it isn't convenient, easy, or pleasant. 
To love others more than myself.  To love God above all.  To show that love by being His hands and feet.

Worship Fully
With my whole heart, my whole mind, my whole soul. 
To yearn for Him constantly, consistently. 
To find Him in the tabernacle as I sit in Adoration.
To seek Him in others.
To serve others until they know His love and mercy.

I have a few other "of this world" goals pertaining to eating, running, and organization, but they are pretty much the same every year... eat better, run more, be better organized.  It's not that I fail at these, but I seem to make baby steps towards a better version of myself and I now understand that I will never be right where I want to be because I will never be perfect!  Only took me 45 years to figure that one out!

I look forward to putting these goals into practice this year and enjoying life at a new level of peace with someone other than myself at the center...